Children all around the world are growing up with various diseases and disorders. With research and science, our nation has been discovering and unveiling more and more different cases of disorders that have hindered children’s psychological development. One disorder that in specifics, is Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Without any knowledge, one might not think twice about this disorder and its effects. It is important that as people, we are educated on the seriousness of this disorder. I wanted to find out more about this psychological disorder and uncover all the big and small details that come with it. With helpful references and research, I know what this disorder is, The effects and symptoms of this disorder, and what further steps should be taken.
What is generalized anxiety disorder you might ask? In the article Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) by Christina Gregory, the author explains what this disorder is and consists of.
Gregory (2019) mentioned that “ If you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you have an uneasy feeling about life in general. Often associated with feelings of dread or unease, you are in a state of constant worry over everything.” (Para. 3) Anyone of any age can have this type of disorder, but according to Gregory (2019) the most common age group to struggle with generalized anxiety disorder the age groups of children-middle aged people.
Symptoms and Effects
One thing that should be made known is how one can diagnose such a disorder. It is very crucial and important to know what types of symptoms to look for when trying to diagnose someone with generalized anxiety disorder, (GAD).
According to the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria, Generalized Anxiety Disorder by Reynold R. Cecil, and Kamphaus W. Randy, (2013) some of the diagnosed symptoms include being easily tired, difficult to focus, feeling restless, having tension in your muscles and body, and being irritable. Pointed out by Reynolds and Kamphaus (2013), another big symptom shown is all of these symptoms are things to look out for when considering someone with this disorder.
It is important to know the effects of this disorder effects childhood development as a whole. According to the article Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Developmental Issues and Implications for DSM-V by authors Beesdo, Katja et al. (2011) It says, “Given cognitive and language development, the increasing importance of peer relationships, and the seeking of autonomy from parents, it is crucial to specify similarities and differences in anxiety expressions for different ages (eg, childhood up to 12 years, adolescence 13 to 17 years).”
Another important thing to know is that even though children may develop these disorders early on, the disorder can stick with them. Stated by Beesdo Katja et al. (2011) “Although early anxiety syndromes may remit spontaneously, the vast majority of children and adolescents that have developed a threshold anxiety disorder will be affected by the same condition or other mental disorders (including other anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or substance use disorders) over the further course of life.”
There is a difference in causes of anxiety, when comparing children to adults. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, (2019) in the article Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Symptoms & Causes it says “Children and adolescents tend to worry about their
competence or the quality of their performance at school and sporting events. They may also have excessive concerns about earthquakes, nuclear war or other catastrophic events.” Whereas adult’s symptoms are much different from children. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, (2019) “Adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) often worry about everyday circumstances such as job possibilities, health and finances, the health of their family members, well-being of their children, and everyday matters like chores.”
Looking at the causes from a biopsychosocial perspective can help further knowledge on the true causes of this disorder from a level point of view, covering all aspects.
We first need to understand the biological causes of this disorder. According to Maron Eduard, and David Nutt (2017) in the article, Biological Markers of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, they talk all about the biological side of the disorder (147-158). According to Maron, Eduard, and David Nutt (2017), “For example, a microRNA (miRNA) array study performed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) has revealed negative correlation between the expression level of miR-4505 and miR-663 and anxiety manifestation in GAD patients; however, the molecular mechanism of this association requires further explanation” (Para. 21).
According to Christina Gregory, (2019) in the article Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), there are psychological causes to this disorder as well as biological.
Gregory says that, “Anatomically speaking, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is most closely related to a disruption in the functional connectivity of the amygdala – the “emotional control center” of the brain – and how it processes feelings of fear and anxiety. Genetics also play a role in Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” This information also shows the biological causes of the disorder. Gregory (2019) also pointed out that, if you are around someone who is suffering from this disorder, or is always on edge, you are more likely to practice having this anxiety disorder. This would be an example of having a social-environmental cause to your anxiety.
When looking at more of a psychological point of view on this topic I did some research and there weren’t many explanations for the psychological cause of this disorder. To sum it up, according to Roxanne Dryden-Edwards MD, in the article Anxiety Disorders Edwards says, “Those who endure this condition experience numerous worries that are more often on the mind of the sufferer than not.”
Knowing what steps to take and treatments to find is just as important as recognizing the disorder. I researched the different medical treatments for this disorder and discovered different options. According to Child Mind Institute, in the article Generalized Anxiety Disorder: What is it? Says that “Treatment for GAD usually has a psychotherapeutic and a pharmacological component.” According to the Child Mind Institute there are drugs that can be taken to help such as, “buspirone is one which can be taken over the long term. The benzodiazepines are stronger, fast-acting sedatives that work well to curb bouts of anxiety but are prescribed sparingly, as they may be habit forming.”
Parents really need to be involved in their child’s recovery and treatment process. According to Child Mind Institute, “In therapy, the family plays an integral role in aiding the child in her quest to control her anxiety and its effects; kids really need their parents’ help in working through the symptoms of GAD.” As stated, the parents play a large role in the process. The child needs the support and guidance from the parental figure. This can help the process immensely.
The prognosis for the recovery of anxiety can vary. According to the article Anxiety Disorders by Roxanne Dryden-Edwards the prognosis is determined by condition. Edwards states that “Treatment can result in anxiety being successfully managed if not cured. Excellent medications are available to help many of the symptoms. Counseling with mental health professionals can be highly effective.” Recovery is possible if treated properly.
In conclusion, generalized anxiety disorder is a complex disorder and is important to understand the seriousness of this disorder. There are many symptoms and causes of this disorder. When one understands what to look for in this disorder, you can point it out easier. It’s important for family to be a part of this process as well. Recovery for this disorder, depends on the state of the person but can be more successful when accurately diagnosed and treated. Generalized anxiety disorder can be managed when understood properly.
Gregory Christina. “Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment” Psycom.net – Mental Health Treatment
Reynold R. Cecil, and Kamphaus W. Randy. “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” Basic 3. (2013.)
Beesdo, Katja, et al. “Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Developmental Issues and Implications for DSM-V.\” The Psychiatric clinics of North America., (Sep. 2009). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3018839/
“Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Symptoms & Causes: Boston Children\’s
Hospital.” Boston Childrens Hospital. http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and- treatments/conditions/g/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/symptoms-and-causes
Maron, E., & Nutt, D. (2017). “Biological markers of generalized anxiety Disorder.\” Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 19(2), 147–158.
“Anxiety Disorders: Types, Symptoms, Treatments, Causes & Definition.” eMedicineHealth. (10, Oct.
“Generalized Anxiety Disorder Basics.” Child Mind Institute. https://childmind.org/guide/guide-to-generalized-anxiety-disorder/